A volcanic island of the southern Pacific Ocean in the southwest Cook Islands. The largest and most important island in the group, it serves as the capital of the Cook Islands.
- Dr Thomson, in his Story of New Zealand, quotes a Maori tradition, published by Sir George Grey, that certain islands, among which it names Rarotonga, Parima and Manono, are islands near Hawaiki.
- The distance from Rarotonga to New Zealand is about 2000 m., and, with the aid of the trade wind, large canoes could traverse the distance within a month.
- Thus it would seem certain that the Maoris, starting from "further Hawaiki," or Samoa, first touched at Rarotonga, "nearer Hawaiki," whence, after forming a settlement, they journeyed on to New Zealand.
- Rarotonga and Mangaia, in the Cook group, and Niue or Savage Island are the largest of these; Penrhyn and Suwarrow, though but small coral atolls, contain excellent harbours.
- Rarotonga is hilly, well watered, and very beautiful.